Here’s something that sounds like it’s straight out of the Raiders’ vault of crazy stories. The team fired PR director Zak Gilbert on Saturday reportedly over a Sports Illustrated article published in April. You could probably see where this is going.
The piece, written by Jim Trotter, is an extensive portrait of the franchise as it attempts a return to glory. And word is Mark Davis was not a fan of it. Hated it. While the story is glowing in its portrayal of GM Reggie McKenzie, Davis reportedly did not appreciate the way he or his late father Al Davis are depicted. The Davis name was sullied (because before the article we all pretty much had unquestionably positive opinions of Al, right?), and somebody had to pay.
Gilbert became the fall guy. He was placed on leave after the story came out, as Mark Davis contemplated his fate. And on Saturday the sword finally fell. Somewhere, Al is a proud dad right now, probably bragging about his son to all the other ghost dads (no, not this guy).
It’s a really rotten outcome for Gilbert, though. He was personally brought in from the Colorado State media relations department by McKenzie only a year ago. Both men previously shared time together in the Packers organization. There probably wasn’t much McKenzie could do. No word on what this means about the current state of McKenzie and Davis’ relationship, either.
Via Vic Tafur, here’s a statement Gilbert released Saturday night:
“I’d like to thank Mark Davis for the honor of serving the Raiders, and Reggie McKenzie for hiring me. I leave holding my chin up, knowing I dedicated every waking hour to promoting a positive image for our team. The co-workers in my Raiders family are extraordinary; the camaraderie we built was really special. Talking to Raiders fans on a weekly basis, I learned first-hand that their passion and loyalty is unmatched. I have great respect for the team’s rich history and took seriously the role of preserving it. Although disappointed that I can’t remain on the ride, I wish Reggie and Dennis Allen absolutely nothing but success in a bright future.”
As for the Raiders, it appears some things will never change.